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Pipeline and Coal-Fired Power Plant Alarmism

Thursday, November 24, 2016 3:23
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In view of the recent controversy about the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Paul Driessen post I just recently put up called Pipeline Anarchy, I want to refer back to a post of mine in November 2011 called Democrat Socialism, Energy, and Pipeline Hysteria.  One of the points I made was that the U.S. was already extensively filled with oil and gas pipelines.  Many of them were old and were not nearly as safe as the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline or as the Dakota Access Pipeline.  It makes little sense to prevent the building of these pipelines on safety or environmental grounds, since they are improvements in the system.  I also pointed out that most any aquifer was already crossed by less superior pipelines.  Now we learn from Driessen’s article that the Dakota Pipeline in the only area unconstructed is running parallel to an already existing pipeline.

From my earlier post:

In 2009, there were 148,622 miles of oil and oil product pipelines in the U.S.  There were also 1,539,911 miles of natural gas pipeline in the U.S.  The Keystone XL project wanted to add 1,661 miles of oil pipeline to this massive network of pipelines.  Some of the major pipelines now in existence are shown in the map below.


The green-coded pipelines are major oil pipelines, the red lines are major gas pipelines, and the blue lines are product pipelines. 

Returning to the present:

The pipeline case in which a safer pipeline is denied while less safe ones continue in use has an interesting parallel in the case against coal fired power plants.  The Obama EPA established a regulation that required power plants to release much less mercury than they do into the atmosphere.  The claim was that despite the low concentrations of mercury, a pregnant woman eating a constant diet of fish from nearby rivers might suffer some health problem based on cherry-picked studies of islanders who ate nothing but seafood from the ocean with its 200 ppm of mercury.  There have long been recommendations that pregnant women not eat too much seafood, as an abundance of caution.  But, pregnant women are presumably thought incapable of following a similar recommendation for avoiding too much fish from rivers as an abundance of caution.

See my posts Coal-Fired Power Plants Produce Insignificant Mercury and Evaluating the Mercury Emissions Danger from Coal-Fired Power Plants.  It is clear that many areas of the country should be evacuated due to the overwhelming concentrations of mercury from natural sources of mercury, such as the mineral cinnabar if the mercury from coal-fired power plants is a problem.  If it is safe to live in much of the American Southwest and the southern Great Plains states, then it is generally immaterial whether one lives near a coal-fired power plant as far as mercury exposure is concerned.

It is also of no significance that coal-fired power plants produce more carbon dioxide than do natural gas power plants or than wind generators do for reasons described in Why Greenhouse Gas Theory is Wrong — An Examination of the Theoretical Basis.

But, we must have many horrors, terrors, and alarms from which ever bigger government can pretend to save us.


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